If you are a small business owner with plans to launch a new website to get more visibility, you must consider search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, so it can be found by prospects. This is especially important if you plan on selling goods directly on your site. The rub is that many times web designers spend more time fretting on form rather than function.
As a result, many websites that we have surveyed are lacking many of the on-page SEO elements that are needed to get properly indexed by the search engines. To address this conundrum you need to either hire a knowledgeable optimization expert, or you can try a little DIY action. When you consider the number of website analysis programs on the market, DIY SEO is not as much of a mission impossible as many people believe. In fact, if you invest a couple of hours a month on your website’s SEO then you can do it yourself.
Selection of the right keywords or phrases for your website is imperative before you start your analysis. That is to say, you need to select the words or phrases that someone who is unfamiliar with your business would enter on the search engines in order to find businesses like yours. For example, if you have a furniture business, you must have the keyword furniture somewhere in your domain. We can take a second example, say your business is plumbing and fitting services provider, then you must have the keyword ‘plumbing’ or ‘plumbing services’ somewhere in your domain name.
Once you have some selections lined up, you need to begin to weed out those that are less desirable. The best way to do this is by entering your keywords and phrases into Google’s Keyword Planner which is found by accessing your Adwords account. (If you don’t have an Adwords account you can set one up by going to adwords.google.com.) The tab for the Keyword Planner is located under the Tools tab at the top right of the page. Once you enter your suspects into the Keyword Planner’s lineup it will come back with the traffic count for each and every keyword or phrase entered. More importantly it will also suggest other keywords and phrases along with their respective traffic counts. The biggest mistake that most people make is to either choose too many keywords or choose keywords with little or no traffic. The Keyword Planner is the perfect tool to help you identify the best keywords to target.
After selecting the right keywords or phrases for your site now you need to plug them in. There are several areas that you need to apply these keywords, namely your Meta Tags, the Alt Tags and at the beginning and end of your website. The Meta Tags are located directly below the Title Tag. An example of how these tags should be formatted is listed below:
The Alt Tags, which are descriptors used at the end of the code for every image on your website, are the next step. Since search engine spiders can’t see images, these descriptors tell the spiders what the image is all about. While many people ignore the alt tags this is a mistake since it is another way to let the search engines know how to rank your site. Below is some sample code that shows you what the alt tags look like. Make sure all off yours are complete if you ever hope to make it to page one of any search engine.
Keywords must be included in your content. Whether you are creating verbiage for your website, blog or video you need to find a way to insert the keywords and phrases into each and every one of these. Just don’t go crazy with the keyword density or you risk being penalized by the very search engines you are trying to woo. (In fact there is a black hat SEO term called keyword stuffing that every search engine knows and loathes.)
Use of the desired keywords in your content in a fitting way is the goal. That is to say, it should not look like keywords are thrown in unnecessarily. Always remember that content is designed first and foremost to be read by human beings. This means that keywords should be used only in the proper time and place. They should also be grammatically correct. Last but not least the most important keyword or phrase should be used at the beginning and end of your website in a font that is bold and italicized. This lets the spiders know that the word or phrase is important.
Even the best on-page SEO is not going to usually be sufficient to generate a page one result on most search engines in our content-rich world. But it is a good start. To really get into the game and get the spiders to sit up and take notice you next need to start providing regular content that is valuable and interesting. (That’s right folks, the spiders have learned how to read.) Weekly content has become king due to the increased competition of the marketplace. People are eager to learn what’s new and exciting with your business. They want to know how you can help them save time and money or overcome obstacles. They want to hear what other customers think about you. Since most people rarely update their website this makes it difficult for people and spiders to find out the latest about news regarding you and your business. That’s what blogs and social networks are all about. They are also good for creating backlinks to your website which is another benchmark that the spiders use to rank sites.
When you get to the step of self-promoting your website, you need to use both On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO techniques. Once your website receives good ranking on all the major search engines, do not stop your Off-Page SEO activities. You should continuously work for your website each week so that your competitors will not overtake your ranking. Yes, you will require lesser effort and time to do the maintenance work as part of the Off-Page SEO once your website receives good ranking. If you do not have the time to promote your website, you can also outsource some or all of your online marketing tasks. Just take care to thoroughly check out any SEO expert that you are considering turning your web presence over to or your site could wind up DOA.
About the Author:
Carl Weiss has been working the web to win since 1995 and has helped hundreds of companies increase their online results. He is president of W Squared Media and co-host of the weekly radio show Working the Web to Win which airs Tuesdays at 4pm Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com. Click here to get his latest book “Working The Web to Win: When it comes to online marketing, you can’t win, if you don’t know how to play the game!”.